Do It Yourself LED Dental Headlamp – Less than $85

I know this is a really pressing topic for a lot of you (:p NOT!), however if you are in the dental or hygiene profession, this is for you! As you know, LED dental headlamps cost quite a pretty penny, most of the time coming in at around $600-$1000. The trick is, getting one bright enough to use through magnification, and focused enough to not blind the patients and get the battery to last 8 hours at maximum intensity. Not an easy feat, even for LEDs. Orascoptic, Designs for Vision, Surgi-Tel, and High-Q are a few of the manufacturers out there making lamps for dentist, but I just couldn’t stomach the cost. So, thanks to a thread on, I found out some people were making LED lamps from a consumer light called the Lenser H7. It is very bright…brighter in fact than my current halogen light that tethers me to the light source box on the counter. The only problem is it only lasts 1-4hrs on the included AAA batteries. Rechargeables run out even faster. So, I decided to make my own battery back by buying a $1.99 AA battery holder from Radio Shack and in theory, increasing the run time considerably (850mAh to 2450mAh). I just finished my trial version and am testing it now… Below are the pictures:
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The original version was powered by 3 AAA, so to get longer life, I added on a 4 AA pack. If you put 3 Alkaline batteries in the unit, the total voltage is 4.5volts, With rechargeables, the light output is reduced because NiMH rechargeable are only 1.2 volts each instead of 1.5, so the total voltage drops to 3.6v. To compensate, I added a forth battery in the series and brought the voltage up to 4.8v. So far at full power, it is certainly brighter, but runs HOT. Now, the original pack has a dimmer, so if I dial the dimmer down just a bit it seems to function just like the regular batteries with the same intensity and heat! Tomorrow is the big test as I will find out if it actually lasts a whole work day…

Composite light filter:


14 responses to “Do It Yourself LED Dental Headlamp – Less than $85”

  1. Hey thanks for posting–this is definately starting to be a pressing topic for me 😛 I’m thinking I’ll just buy the loupes and the headlamp together for a discount (with the extra student discount they’re not quite as expensive. . .) Does this light have a filter for when you’re working with composite?

  2. When you say HOT? Do you mean uncomfortably so? Also what options do you have to clip these onto glasses/eyewear? Thanks!

  3. If you have it all the way up on power with the 4 batteries it does get hot to touch, but I have found just jumpering the fourth battery space in mine (or get a 3 AA batter pack) works just as well or better. You don’t get the extra brightness, but also not the extra HOT touch!

  4. Do how did it run on the big day with 4 AA batteries? Do you wear the battery pack at your waist?

  5. The best thing I have found so far is just using regular 3 regular alkaline batteries instead of the 4 rechargeable. The NiCa just run out of juice too fast. Only last you about 1/2 a day at good power. The regular AA’s last a few days. I wear the pack attached to the strap on the back of the head.

  6. Dear Dr. Tech,

    Thanks for all your chronicalized experimentation! On my H7, I extended the the battery pack cable so it can sit in my pocket. I used an old usb cable (usb has 4 wires, H7 uses 3 wires) and heat shrinks for a professional look. I plan to modify and mount the LED body to a pair of FLIP UP loupes. I got that idea from NAVYDDS on the Student Doctor Network. Nonetheless, the lessened weight of the battery pack from off the back of the head is nice!!!

    I was wondering, did you have to modify the composite filter from or does it incidently fit?

    Thanks again!

  7. Have you considered Li ion batteries? you can either order them at preferred sizes/voltages from battery companies or just using off the shelf Li ion rechargable batteries should extend your run time

  8. Since you wrote this article , how has the design progressed ? I know there are now many companies making dental head lights. Your light needs to be set lower down and therefore has to be really small.

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